It claims to be able to do almost anything, but is it worth its large countertop footprint? Nick applies pressure to see if it cracks.

It’s a mighty beast, the  Crockpot® Turbo Express. Freed from its minimum, but effective, packaging it still needs two hands to haul it up onto the worktop where it sits hugely but not unattractively. A Henry Hoover without pipes.

It is primarily a pressure cooker, and that explains its bulk; a pressure cooker has to withstand a lot of energy build up inside and a feeble design won’t last long.

The main removable 5.6litre bowl is non-stick steel and the chunky lid locks down with the efficiency and reassurance of a submarine’s main hatch. All the main parts are easily removed for cleaning and maintenance.

So let’s do a deep dive.

On the front is a plethora of ‘wipe clean’ buttons which are a bit daunting, but rather like the dials on an aeroplane you only need to look at a few at a time depending on what function you’re choosing.

It’s no less than a 14-in-1 unit including Pressure Cook, Sous Vide, Slow Cook, Sauté, Sterilise, Steam and Simmer. So, for its size it does at least replace a lot of other tools.

Pressure Cook.

So first the pressure cooking function. I haven’t used a pressure cooker since university days. Back then we had a scary old thing that no one in my shared house entirely trusted and fully expected to explode at any moment. We used to stand well clear as it hissed and shook on the stove.

Pressure cooking has advantages. Once up to steam, it takes less time to cook the veg and it keeps in nutrients. It’s particularly good for drastically reducing the time it takes to cook dried pulses. Many Asian households will have one.

I cooked some green beans. You simply add no less than 250 of water, but not so much that the water level is higher than the platform the veg stand on. Lock down the lid, choose the right button and away you go.

It took about eight minutes to come to pressure, with a gentle hissing from the valve. The timer counted down three minutes from that point and we were done. It takes ten minutes for the pressure to then naturally fall until it’s safe to open the lid.

A ‘bobbler’ valve falls on the lid to tell you when it’s safe, or you can release all the steam immediately and manually. This is not recommended for some soft foods such as rice.

You may read reviews that say the pressure release switch can be dangerous. This refers to the previous model and the switch has now been changed so that is no longer an issue.

The beans were cooked fine, but twenty one minutes in total was a lot longer than simply boiling them in a pan, where you can test anytime to see if they are done.

Pulses are perfect to pressure cook/ Chick peas, pre-soaked took about ten minutes to become soft while cooked from dry with no pre-soak they took just forty minutes. This is serious time saving and with the super quick Turbo setting you can go 40% faster*

Sauté and slow cook

If making a soup or stew, you can use the sauté function to cook the vegetables and brown the meat before switching to slow cooking setting. This makes it a true one-pot solution.

Chickpeas take no time

Sauté has two settings, low and high. I found low was actually pretty fierce and I had to keep stirring to avoid burning. It worked though and certainly browned the meat well. Best to add meat in small amounts though, as if the pan is packed the meat will stew and not fry.

Stock added etc we left it all day and ended up with an excellent stew rich in flavour and of course no moisture lost. A great thing to come home to on a cold day.

An ‘end’ function means you can set your eating time and the pot will turn itself on to meet that time, rather than begin cooking immediately, this is clever and very useful for busy people.

Sous Vide

This was new to me. I’ve had a Foodsaver vacuum sealer for many years, and it is incredibly useful for freezing things, but I’ve never had its natural partner, a Sous Vide cooker.

Sous vide is French for “under vacuum”. ​​ The food is vacuum-sealed and slowly cooked in a water bath so it stays juicy. The water temperature is very low, and needs to be precisely maintained over a long time. You can’t do it in a saucepan.

The food ends up with a uniform texture because it all cooks at the same speed. For example, a sous vide steak will be medium rare all the way through, instead of pink in the middle and grey around the edges.

This means you do need to quickly sear your steak after sous vide to make it look attractive, but you can also rapidly chill the steak in its bag after sous vide and keep it in the fridge for up to three days ready for instant searing when needed. Many well-known top restaurants do precisely this and with consistently excellent results.

So we took two duck breasts, scored the skin then painted the flesh side with a mix of honey, marmalade, salt and orange zest then bagged them up and turned on the machine

The deep water took forever to get to 57C, at least 25 minutes. As the water never touches the food, it would have been a good idea to have used warm tap water to get that waiting time down.

The supplied rack is vital to keep the pouches submerged and not floating to the top. We lowered it in when the display told us to, then loosely fitted the lid. Make sure the meat is already at room temperature by the way, or it will put the water bath down by at least 5C and confuse your timings.

Ninety minutes later we unbagged the breasts, dried them and then crisped the skin in a hot pan. The meat was perfect pink all the way through, sous vide is definitely a great way to cook.

We never got around to trying the function to sterilise baby bottles, jars and utensils or the milk scalding setting. Although they will be very useful to new parents and/or jam makers.


It’s a big beast but it does a heck of a lot. We loved the pressure cooking of pulses and rice, and the sauté slow cook was also handy. The biggest revelation was sous vide, we even rushed out and got a book of recipes.

Talking of which we were surprised the cooker only came with a basic instruction manual and no recipe booklet, which would have been useful. There are a lot on Crockpot’s website though

You’ll find this a kitchen mainstay in no time.

The Crockpot® Turbo Express is available from the following retailers for RRP £119.99:

  • Amazon
  • Argos
  • AO
  • John Lewis